“What’s the matter, baby?” Mooney asked, his voice sounding nervous. “I’m sorry it took me so long to take the sheriff into letting me bail you out.”
Marissa refused to look at him, to let him see her face all red and blotchy from crying. He hadn’t seen her blotchy-faced when the sheriff led her out dressed in a jail-house orange jumpsuit, though she’d been crying all afternoon. She had managed to get it under control once the deputy, a sweet older lady, whispered to her that her “fella” was sweet talking the sheriff and to pull herself together.
No, this round of waterworks had started when she’d been told she couldn’t go back into her Coffee shop until the investigation was concluded and that her cloths had also been confiscated for evidence. She was now on her way to Mooney’s tiny little apartment dressed in one of those white paper outfits they used on crime scenes to keep from contaminating things.
“Is it something I did?” he asked hesitantly. “I can take you somewhere else if you don’t want to stay at my place.”
Marissa squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head vehemently. “It’s not you,” she said, making herself talk around the wet, spongy mass that had taken up residence in the back of her throat.
“Then what is it?” he asked.
“It’s just-“ she started. What was she thinking? She couldn’t tell a beta wolf what really had her so upset, could she? Wasn’t there some advice or other that said to never show weakness to a wolf?
“It was something I did, then,” he mumbled when she didn’t finish. To heck with it, Marissa said to herself.
“You are the first guy I’ve ever been serious about and I wanted today to be perfect for us,” she spat, hurrying he words so fast they ran together.
“Not me?” he asked as he pulled into a spot in front of his apartment building.
“Not you,” she conformed softly. “I had a special dinner all planned out for you. Elk meat steaks for you, eggplant for me and a new recipe for a desert coffee called French Kiss. For once I had someone to do something special for and that damn Lex wrecked it!”
Mooney looked over at her, shocked. She was going to do all that for him? A ne’r-do-well beta who couldn’t hold down a job even when his brother had been the editor? He didn’t know what made him say it, but he couldn’t stop himself. “That’s good. ‘Cause then we’d have been eating two dinners.”
His goth-girl looked over at him, he sweet face looking shocked. He felt all squirmy inside, seeing her face wet from tears. He wasn’t much of a wolf, but if she thought he was a good enough boyfriend to try and do something special for him, he would damn well find some way to show her she was right to trust him. He smiled at her, hiding his own unease as he wrapped his huge coat more tighter around her slim shoulders. She said nothing, just followed him meekly up the four flights of stairs to his place.
The problem was he hadn’t had anything planned. He did have a couple rabbits he’d hunted in his fridge, but his witchy lady was vegetarian, like most of her kind. Ah-ha, he remembered with glee. He had accidentally bought a bag of vegetarian stir-fry mix last month, thinking it was Mongolian beef. He could fix up the stir-fry and add some rabbit to his share. Um, and he thought he maybe had one more of those boil-in-bag rice thingies his mom had dropped off at his place a while ago when she was on one of her health kicks. Did those things have a shelf life?
“That was awesome!” she said to him after they finished eating. Mooney got up and started clearing the table. It had turned out surprisingly good or an omnivore dinner. Maybe his mom was right about rabbit food not being horrible to eat—especially when served with rabbit! He looked up suddenly when Marissa grabbed his hand. “You cooked,” she said with a smile and a funny look in her eyes. “I’ll clean up and do the dishes since I don’t have anything to give you for Valentine’s Day.”
Mooney looked at her, standing there all sweet and innocent looking, dressed in his one white dress shirt and nothing else. She had changed into it and out of the paper thing the deputy had given her to wear home, saying that his clothes were big enough she could pretend to be wearing a sexy dress for him. He had loved the way she blushed and got all shy when he said she looked better in his clothes than in anything he had ever seen her in. He didn’t know what made him say it, but he couldn’t stop himself. “That’s ok, baby. You clean up out here while I get desert ready for you in the bedroom. That one can be our present to each other.”
He grinned at her shocked looked. He turned and headed to his room before she saw the panicked look on his face. Him and his big mouth! What could he possible serve her for desert in his bed room? He shut the door and looked around. Gah, it was a mess! He began grabbing armfuls of stuff and shoving it in the closet, under the bed, any place he could cram it.
“Ouch!” he swore when an old box of Halloween decorations fell on his head. Wait! Didn’t have an old set of angel wings in there? He looked and began grinning. Yes, he did. And a little devil’s costume from when he was ten. An idea started bubbling up. He grabbed the devil costume- just horns, a tail and a pitchfork- stuffed them into a black silk pillow case and tied the end shut. He scribbled a note on it, telling her to put them on then join him at her leisure. He hung it on the bedroom doorknob and finished his preparations.
Marissa waited until all sounds of hurried movement had stopped from the other sie of the bedroom door. She looked down at herself. Did he mean for her to wear just the horns and tail or keep his shirt on as well? Too late, she said to herself. She wasn’t going to delay this any longer just to take the shirt off. She was dying of curiosity as it was! She knocked once or twice then opened the door slowly. Oh, my!
There her wolf lay, tied to his own bed wearing nothing but a set of hokey angel wings, a big bow over his slim hips, and nothing else. How on Earth had he managed to tie himself to the bed? She wondered. The sight of two-hundred fifty pounds of muscular, sexy wolf tied up and ready to be taken advantage of- dressed like an angel to her devil- was the hottest thing she had ever seen. And he’d done all this for her?
“My, my, my. What have we here?” she said, as she shut the door behind her. “My very own Valentine, all wrapped up and waiting to be devoured,” she said with a throaty purr. Best Valentine's Day Ever! she squeeling in her head.